Friday, February 21, 2014

Arizona Goddam



Before we get started, a note about commenting: Because the subject of this post is a powerful magnet for raging insanity and screaming illiterate trollage, as are all articles dealing with religion, commenting is under tight moderation.  If you see yourself in this article and you think I’m picking on your religion and you’re put off, outraged, enraged, offended, incensed, or otherwise suffering from bunched panties as a result of what I’ve written here, if you want your witty and erudite comment to post, then I strongly caution you to adhere to the example of your prophet and, you know, not act like a raving ass  //Jim


As we witness hostility towards people of faith grow like never before, we must take this opportunity to speak up for religious liberty. The great news is that SB 1062  protects your right to live and work according to your faith and was passed by the Arizona legislature. This bill is now heading to Governor Jan Brewer's desk. One thing became undeniably clear as SB 1062 advanced through the legislature: opponents were not interested in an honest debate about the bill's actual provisions. Instead, they distorted and attacked the bill and its supporters at every turn. Even before the last vote was cast in the House, opponents of SB 1062 started a mass calling and email campaign into Governor Brewer's office to try to pressure her into vetoing this important bill. It is critical that the Governor hears from YOU that no one should be forced to violate their religious beliefs merely because they go to work or start a business!
      - Center For Arizona Policy Website.


Sir, the truth is, I talk to God all the time, and, no offense, but He never mentioned you.
Phillipe Gaston, Ladyhawke, 1985


What would Jesus do?

You hear that question posed on a daily basis here in America.

You see it on Tee-shirts and posters and on the internet.

They present the question with a sardonic smile, Say, whadaya suppose the ol’ Savior would do?

It’s a funny thing, that question, when you think about it. 

Funny peculiar. Not funny ha ha.

Somebody asked me that yesterday, “What would Jesus do?” What would Jesus do in Arizona? Which side would he stand on? What, oh what, would Jesus do?

I mean, it sounds profound, particularly if you couch it in an admonishing tone with a single raised eyebrow, “Aaaah, same sex marriage? Gay couples? Sin! Abomination! What do you think Jesus would say? What would Jesus think of the homosexual war on religion? Tsk, tsk, yes, what would Jesus say?”

Well, okay. Sure.

Leaving aside the fact that believers always structure the question in the past tense, which is fairly odd given that the guy in question is supposed to be a living deity (and frankly, if he’s not, then who cares what he thinks? And if he is around, then why doesn’t he just come right out and say it, instead of having people guess at what he’d say?), here’s the problem: me personally? Well, I’ve got no goddamned idea what Jesus would do or what he would say.


And how would I?

No, really, how the hell would I know what Jesus would say about gay marriage?

After all, Jesus, according to his followers and the only existent written documentation, is God, right? You know, Yahweh, Jehovah, King of Kings, El Supremo, the Big Cheese, The Light and The Way, all knowing, all seeing, all powerful, the divine supernatural creator of Heaven and Earth and all the chirping birdies that fly in the sky and all the little fishies that swim in the deep blue sea. According to the user’s manual, he’s omniscient and omnipotent and his mind encompasses all of creation across the depth and the width and the breadth of the entire multiverse, from before the Big Bang to the last guttering spark at the heat death of the cosmos and everything that comes in between. Right? I mean, right? Because anything less and he’s not God, or at least not God God. Right?

So, seriously, can you imagine what a mind of that vastness must be like?

I sure as shit can’t, I wouldn’t even know where to start.

And you want me to guess what God would do about gay people wanting to be treated like human beings?

I’m not even a member of his fan club, I don’t get the weekly insider newsletter, so, given the playing field, honestly, how in the pluperfect Hell could I possibly know what God would do in any given situation?

How would I have any hope whatsoever of guessing the hypothetical actions of some unfathomable, likely mythical, divine being? How would I know what a god would do, especially one who speaks in riddles and vague long outdated anecdotes about people who lived millennia ago and whose most vocal ranting raging self-appointed representatives here among the dirty unwashed of this tiny backwater hamlet lost among the vasty cosmos are, for all intents and purposes, clinically indistinguishable from the mentally ill?

What would Jesus do?

Beats me. 

Given his track record, it could be anything from wiping us all out in a giant flood to snuffing all the first born children to nuking a couple of cities to a plague of flies and poison toads to having us all wander around in the desert for a couple of decades to maybe just showing us his bare ass cheeks and lighting the bushes on fire.  I assume he’s got other tricks up the sleeve of his robe, I mean a guy like this could drop a neutron star on your head or turn off the sun as easily as he parted the sea, so, really, how would I know? Hell, I can’t even guess what my cat is going to do from one minute to the next – and God can conjure entire universes from his own mind. To a creature like that, humans and cats are basically on the same level, hell, from the perspective of such a vast, vast consciousness me and any random bacterium would be identical twins.

And you want me to read his mind?

That would be like asking the aforementioned bacterium to guess what I’d say – and the germ would have a higher probability of success.

What would Jesus do? Jesus?

It amuses me that there are people out there who actually think they know.

This God of theirs builds universes, universes. Black holes and globular clusters, whole galaxies, trillions upon trillions upon trillions of stars he fashions from nothing, he builds whole worlds with a wave of his mighty hand, conjures life from lifeless dirt … and yet – and yet – he actually gives a good Goddamn that two gay guys want to get married? 


That’s God’s big beef? That’s what he’s got to complain about. Gay people?

War. Pestilence. Famine. Murder, Rape. Graven Images. Inequality. No, no, Jesus is good with those, it’s gay people God can’t stand. 

Never mind that homosexuality is only mentioned in the Bible seven times, seven, making it pretty darn far down on the Damnation-O-Meter compared to, oh, say, hypocrisy which is condemned over and over and over and over and over again and again.  And there are hundreds of references to economic justice and the immorality of those bent to the accumulation of wealth.  And thousands, literally thousands, of words devoted to the feeding of the hungry, the clothing of the poor, and the healing of the sick. 

No, no, it’s homosexuality, that’s the problem.

Never mind that Jesus himself never said a single word about it, for or against, and seriously, don’t you think he would? I mean, don’t you think he really would have given specific orders and admonishments on this subject? Don’t you think he would have laid down the law in clear and unambiguous terms, if it’s so, so very important to God and all, I mean. 

You shouldn’t have to guess what Jesus would have said, he should have said it.

And just never mind that gayness didn’t even make the final cut when it came to God’s Old Testament Top Ten – let’s see, there’s the holy day thing, and don’t murder people bit, don’t steal, don’t covet asses, don’t lip off to your folks, no graven images, no other deities … but, nope, not one single word about gay people, nothing. Well, that’s just odd. I mean, how come it’s not in the Ten Commandments of all places? Given that, right there, is where God laid down his so-called moral law and all and given that he hates gay people so much? Seems like a pretty big oversight, doesn’t it?  Seriously, don’t swear made the list, but gayness didn’t?  No graven images, no idols, but not don’t be gay?

Look, it’s not my religion, but come on. Really?

It amuses me (and by “amuses me” I mean “boggles my mind”) that there are those who actually go around thumping their fleshy chests and proclaiming with ponderous gravid certainty that their God would say this or that, that he approves of this and disapproves of that, that he loves these people and hates those people (What? God doesn’t hate gay people, you say? He loves ‘em, but he’s going to torture them in pits of fire for all eternity. But he loves them. Riiiight. There’s a word for guys like this. I’m just saying).

These people pretend insight into the supposedly unfathomably vast mind of an incomprehensible being that they claim spans not just universes but all of time and space, and then they have the unmitigated gall to act offended when somebody demands proof of such outrageous and preposterous claims.

Worse, they inevitably, every single time without fail, attempt to use this supposed insight to justify their own personal agenda of hate and fear.

In Arizona, a fanatical group of religious extremists calling themselves the Center for Arizona Policy wrote a bill called The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, officially called SB 1062, and Friday that bill passed the Arizona state senate and is now on its way to Governor Jan Brewer’s desk.

The basic gist of the law would allow Arizona businesses to legally discriminate against anybody, but in particular Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, and Transgendered (LGBT) people.

This isn’t an exaggeration or hysterical hyperbole as its supporters claim.

In fact, if the law didn’t specifically provide protection for businesses that want to discriminate based specifically on sexual orientation and religion, there wouldn’t be any reason for it in the first place.

Legalizing discrimination is the entire purpose of SB 1062, it has no other provisions.

The law clearly and unambiguously allows businesses to turn away gay and lesbian customers based solely on sexual orientation (or suspected orientation), it specifically protects employers who deny equal pay to women based solely on their gender if they believe women are inferior on religious grounds, it allows employers to fire employees based solely on their sexual orientation or lifestyle or religion or lack of religion, and it allows individuals and businesses to renege on existing contractual obligations again based solely on sexual orientation or lifestyle or religious beliefs – just so long as they “sincerely” invoke God when they’re doing it.

This law essentially turns every private business in Arizona into holy ground and imposes Christian Dominionism on every person inside the state lines.

This law was written and promoted specifically in support of one religion, Evangelical Christian extremism, and no other.

It’s appalling ironic that the fanatics behind this new version of segregation are the very same people who fear imposition of Islamic law upon themselves, and yet they see nothing whatsoever hypocritical about forcing their own religious agenda on everybody else. As I said, their own holy book mentions homosexuality a mere handful of times, but specifically condemns their own hypocrisy and small minded bigotry over and over and over again.

Religious extremists would have you believe that SB 1062 is about protecting their rights, that they are somehow being denied their 1st Amendment Rights if they have to treat LGBT people as, well, you know, people.  And that’s exactly what they are doing, Arizona legislators specifically wrote into the law a provision that clearly and unambiguously proclaims a “person” to be a “ANY INDIVIDUAL, ASSOCIATION, PARTNERSHIP, CORPORATION, CHURCH, RELIGIOUS ASSEMBLY OR INSTITUTION OR OTHER BUSINESS ORGANIZATION.” 

In Arizona a church is a person.

An informal religious assembly is a person.

An association is a person.

A partnership is a person.

A corporation is a person.

A business is a person. 

Unless they’re gay.  Unless they don’t subscribe to the right religion. Then they are less than human.

The bill specifically targets LGBT people, but it’s written in such a manner that it allows any form of state supported bigotry so long as that discrimination is done in the name of religion, specifically a particular form of Christianity. Specifically Evangelical Christianity.

Think I’m wrong?

You just watch how fast the Christian sponsors and supporters of this bill start screaming in outrage when a Muslim refuses their business based on their religion. 

If Governor Brewer signs this bigotry into law, you watch just how fast evangelicals backpedal when businesses start refusing them service, when employers start firing them or paying them less based solely on that little cross hanging around their necks, when the privately held cable or phone company turns off service to their church, when they can’t get seated in a restaurant or find a business that will cater their wedding.

This bill is being promoted by one religion, solely in support of one religion, solely for the benefit of one religion. Period.

Given half a chance, these same people would turn Arizona and the rest of America into Putin’s Russia, or worse, Iran. Q.E.D.

And just what would Jesus say about that?

If the same Bible that these people use as justification for their bigotry and hatred is to be believed, then Jesus never said anything about homosexuality, not one holy word.  But according to that same document, here’s what he did specifically say:

For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. -Matthew 6:14-15.

In the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. –Matthew 7:2-5

Then Peter came and said to Him, Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times? Jesus said to him, I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. -Matthew 18:21-22

Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions. –Mark 11:25-26

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. –Luke 6:25-37

But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink, for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12:20-21

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails; -I Corinthians 13:4-8

Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature. – I Corinthians 14:20

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. –Ephesians 4:1-3

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. -Ephesians 4:32

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. –Philippians 2:3-4

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. –Colossians 3:12-13

For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment. -James 2:13

To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. -I Peter 3:8-9

There’s more. Much, much more of the same.

So, why is it, do you suppose, that these people are so fixated on the unspoken, unknown, unguessable words of their God, but steadfastly refuse to acknowledge or obey the very very specific written instructions of their prophet? Why must they guess at what Jesus would say, when they ignore the words he did say according to their own beliefs?

The simple hypocritical truth of the matter is this: These people demand the right to segregate themselves from those who don’t adhere to their version of the Christian faith, they seek to shun and shame those they see as sinners, and they demand this right in the name of a religion that vocally and specifically commands them to do exactly the opposite.

They’re not trying to live up to the expectations of their God, they’re only using him as an excuse to hate others.

These hypocrites are simply mad that the current laws and the Constitution of the United States force them to live up to the admonishments of their own professed beliefs.

And the truly ironic thing is that this law is not only contrary to everything the United States stands for, according to Christian doctrine it’s contrary to everything Jesus stood for as well.


And just what would Jesus do about that?

I suspect he’d forgive them … but then again, he has that luxury, since he obviously doesn’t live in Arizona.


Edit: AZ Governor Brewer vetoed SB 1062. Follow-up commentary is here.

About the title of this piece, it’s a tip of the hat to singer-songwriter, pianist, and outspoken civil rights activist Nina Simone and an homage to her Mississippi Goddam, written and performed at Carnegie Hall in 1964 following the murder of Medgar Evers and the bombing of a black church in Birmingham that killed four young girls. Mississippi Goddam was one of the great anthems of the American Civil Rights movement.  It was banned in nearly every Southern State and universally denounced by pious bigots and devoutly religious haters across the land.

50 years later, the hateful bigots are still among us, still wrapped in the hoods and robes of their small and fearful religion, working to turn back the clock with a return to Jim Crow and Segregation. The target of their hate may be different this time around, but it’s no less vile and loathsome.  They, like those who came before them, are firmly on the wrong side of history and one day, just like their forbearers, that history will show them for what they truly are.

This week, marks what would have been Simone’s 80th birthday and her words ring as true today as they did back then.


  1. Even more fun, the bill as written would forbid employers from firing employees who refuse service to LGBT folks, even if the employer doesn't want the employee to discriminate. Should be fun to watch.

    1. It seems to me that the bill allows you to fire your employees based on clearly held religious belief. That is the whole point, right? So... if you are a Christian and you truly believe what the Bible says about tolerance and forgiveness, then the specific provisions against firing employees for hate and intolerance clearly do not apply to you. After all, you are merely exercising your freedom of religion, right?

    2. Fun to watch as long as you're not LGBT and living in AZ. Not fun at all...

    3. Sorry, "fun" should have been in quotes. But the likelihood of it being instituted is actually quite low, as Jan Brewer continues to define herself as a real politician: one who wants to be re-elected at all costs.

      The "fun" is watching all the idiots fall over themselves trying to say what they think will sell, and the media, playing its usual two-headed game.

    4. I would think that there would be an injunction before the law even takes effect, or shortly after it does take effect. The opponents likely even have all the paperwork done and a judge lined up to sign the injunction order as soon as Brewer signs it.

  2. I'm always amazed the an omnipotent Deity need the puny power of a State or Nation to impose Its rule. What would Jesus do? When He preached to a town and was rejected. He didn't call down fire from the sky, He didn't use divine powers to change minds and He didn't command Legions to punish those therein. He shook the dust from his sandals and went on about His mission. That's what Jesus did.

  3. From Tea Party Hell (It's a dry hate) Arizona - thank you for putting some sunlight on the situation here.

    1. "It's a dry hate" - best thing I've read today, second to Jim's article!

    2. Also from Arizona, here, and:
      It's not the hate, it's the inhumanity.

      ETA: Oh my, word verification: hypocrites ivduci!

    3. From a displaced Alaskan who is a snowbird in Arizona - Jim, I have enjoyed listening to you in person there in Palmer and I have enjoyed reading your blogs. Once again, you are spot on with this blog. I am not sure of how to address the irrationality of such bills that come from the lawmakers of this state!

    4. What's interesting to me is that there were 10 states that suddenly had the same kind of bill submitted all about the same time. Makes me wonder just who wrote this garbage and distributed it. Arizona singled itself out as the only one to actually pass it and send it to the governor so far. Even Kansas knew better.

  4. Absolutely! But it is so easy to condemn those "sins" that don't tempt us. I have never understood how another person's right to love someone of the same gender, in ANY way challenges, interferes with or threatens my right to love someone of the opposite gender. Jesus loved those of his era that were shunned by the powerful. He ate with tax collectors (okay even in modern times that isn't really a loved group) spoke to Samaritans and even talked to women. A Bible isn't a weapon, or at least it shouldn't be.

    1. It's true of most holy books: It's supposed to be a torch to light the way, not a club to beat people over the head with. Unfortunately, it seems that we're better at fighting with sticks than setting them on fire so we can see what's going on.

    2. let he who is without sin cast the first stone

  5. Might be fun from safely outside Arizona - but some of us live here. This could get pretty ugly - I can only hope Governor Brewer is paying attention.

    1. Unfortunately, she might be in agreement with the Legislature. If that's so, then it doesn't matter if she's paying attention or not. The damage will be done either way.

    2. She probably does agree with it, but many business interests in the state are crapping their pants at the thought of the financial consequences, and they'll be pressuring the heck out of her to veto it. Will God or Mammon win?

    3. If this idiotic drivel gets vetoed, I say God and Mammon split the spoils - Arizona wins too, BTW - and the hypocrites go back to grandstanding from their pulpits where they belong! It is a fairly horrifying spectacle though!


    4. No offense, Ted, but I can't think of a single reason you shouldn't be leaving Nazizona on the first thing smokin'

  6. Wonderful post as usual Jim, or if you prefer, Mr. Stonekettle.


  7. Somehow, this essay needs to go to Governor Brewer and all of Arizona. I am sharing it everywhere, with your permission, Jim! (Your FB friend, AliciaSerarfina)

  8. How about asking a different question tha "What would Jesus do?" Try studying what he actually did.

  9. These are scary times we are living in right now. So much hate from so many of the people who claim to follow a religion of loving one's fellow man. It's incredibly discouraging.

    I once had a discussion about "judging" with some of the Christian Right (remember I am related to some). They are now saying that they do, indeed, have the right to "judge" because "judging" is making decisions. They have determined that "judge" when mentioned in the Bible doesn't really mean "judge" but, instead, means "condemn" - i.e., instead of the Bible verse saying "Judge not, lest ye be judged" they are now claiming it really means "Condemn not ... " When I asked them if the person who decided this is a scholar of Greek or of Aramaic (because how else could he decide what the words of the Bible mean) some of them decided that I was being terrible to them, and got very angry.

    I see in your quotes from Scripture that the distinction is actually clearly made in Luke: "Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned." Judgment and condemnation are clearly two separate concepts. It amazes me how they twist even the words of Scripture to their own ends - and how quickly their "followers" swallow it hook line and sinker as if God wrote it in His own hand.

    1. I'm not a biblical scholar, but I think the juxtaposition of judge and condemn may actually be a poetic device often used in the Bible (and part of Hebrew poetic technique). The passage wasn't written in Hebrew, but the convention may still hold. In the juxtaposition, the two words would be used as synonyms, rather than distinct concepts. I'm being pedantic about it, and I agree with you that your relatives are justifying their behavior with a false distinction. By the way, judge and justify come from the same root...I'm helpless to resist my pedantry. I'll stop now.

  10. What bothers me is that the Arizona law is NO DIFFERENT from the Jim Crow laws of the old South. It blows my mind that this kind of shit is still going on. It really and truly blows my mind.

  11. Too much fluoride in their water, it has obviously melted their brains, I'm serious, this is not normal behavior.

  12. It's a hit! Deep fly ball to center! Going! Going! Going! Gone! Over the center field stands and into the parking lot!

    Seriously. Your best yet Jim. Thanks.

  13. This is the Religious Right version of the 'Stand your Ground' laws that are currently now routinely being used to shoot and kill minorities.

    Further evidence this entire country is melting down at the ideological level.

  14. Oh, Hell Yeah!!!


  15. Thank you for this. I'm ashamed to say I live in AZ. I agree, this is one of your best.

  16. Brilliantly said. And massive extra credit points for working Nina Simone into the argument.

  17. This brought to you by the same people who just this past week decided that if a white guy picks a fight with a Navajo and is loosing the fight he started he can pull his gun and shoot the Native. Arizona is a real wonderful place to live. Unless you are capable of rational thought. Moving here was the biggest mistake I've made in the last 20 years.

  18. Hoping this gets shot down like the (very similar) one did, here in Kansas. Was just as stupid here. Don't get me wrong, we have quite enough stupid stuff going on still, largely put forward by a Governor who doesn't think he needs to listen to his constituents. We're just serfs in his "great experiment." Sigh. It's an awfully long time 'till I can cast my vote to get rid of him. Tempted to put up a countdown clock on my wall.

    Gretchen in KS

    1. Hang in there, Gretchen (Gretchen F? Facebook friends with a certain LG from Massachusetts, perhaps?) -- from what I read, Brownback is infuriating everyone with even a vestige of a conscience these days. Is that enough to turn back the red tide* drowning sanity? One can only hope.

      *Red tide: "Harmful algal blooms, or HABs, occur when colonies of algae—simple plants that live in the sea and freshwater—grow out of control while producing toxic or harmful effects on people, fish, shellfish, marine mammals, and birds. The human illnesses caused by HABs, though rare, can be debilitating or even fatal." -- from NOAA: http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/redtide.html

    2. Yes, Never Ben Better, you guessed who I am, and I picked up who you are through posts you've made on fb at other times.

      I hope that those of us living through Brownback's experiment can live Through it, and that enough will figure out that we need to vote him out. Unfortunately, it actually can be fatal in some cases--for instance, his refusal to expand Medicaid, (didn't Jesus tell his people to heal the sick? And do a bit of that Himself, for free? But now I digress) and thus, denying healthcare to hundreds of thousands. Granted, not all of those will die, but sadly, some will. And he and his handpicked cabal don't care. Because while they claim to be Christians, it seems it is only when they can use their book to hurt people they consider "other." Considering that I've heard some like them (local Baptist preacher, with some of his flock, in person, just a few years ago) railing about how Catholics aren't Christians, their definition is awfully narrow.

      Speaking for myself, I would rather expand Medicaid because it makes better financial sense, and disregard whether or not a religious text says anything about it or not. (Sorry, I'm not in favor of lining the pockets, ad infinitum, of the for-profit insurance industry. Especially not when they insist on Proving they Will cheat and gouge their customers whenever they think they can get away with it.) I would rather treat all humans as fairly as possible because that's how decent people act, not because one or another religion speaks about it. We can't go back in time and fix the mistakes of the past, but we should learn from them. And like it or not, This bill in Arizona looks an awful lot like Jim Crow, except that it also opens up the door to discrimination against women, if a business happens to follow Sharia law (I bet they didn't think of THAT!) or even their own forms of Dominionism. Since I happen to be in that particular majority (yes, majority--last time I looked, there were just a fraction more women in this world, if statistics are to be believed) I find that particularly offensive, but I don't agree with discrimination against the other targeted groups, either.

      Gretchen in KS

    3. The fact that this tripe showed up in 10 states all about the same time goes to show that this was organized by some group somewhere. My bet is that these were meant to either fail or be overturned. Then they could be used as the great "get out the vote" issue for the GOP in the upcoming elections.

  19. I'm amazed that Arizona hasn't imploded yet, given some of the stuff they've been pulling down there.

    Anyways, great article as usual, Chief. These are exactly the sort of people I'm writing about in a project of my own (unfortunately, it's very slow work, so it'll be a few years until I get to my point); they hate in the name of a god of love, they commit acts of violence with a prayer to their god of peace on their lips, and they ruthlessly condemn others while professing to live according to the commandments of a god of mercy, and they don't see the hypocrisy of their position.

    Of course, the people who need to realize this the most are these self-same individuals, and they didn't listen when their own god told them to play nice with everyone.

  20. Thank you for this. Truly. Thank you. I'm just very glad it is not law, yet. If Jan Brewer has any sense, she will not sign this bill.

  21. What would Jesus say?

    "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." Mark 12:30-31

  22. Absolutely one of the best commentaries I have heard or read about this subject. Thanks Jim.


  23. Extraordinarily well said. I would note with regard to the question, "What would Jesus do," that Jesus was criticized in his day for hanging around with "sinners." So, if he really felt that an LBGT lifestyle was sinful, he would probably seek those folks out, befriend them and would love them the same way he loves all of the rest of us. Of course, not being omniscient, I could be wrong.

  24. Wait until they refuse service to people of the Jewish faith, because they don't believe Jesus is the Messiah - the action of any anti-semitism will get a lot of attention from certain quarters.

    1. If Jewish people were refused service, then Jesus would have been refused service. He was definitely Jewish.

  25. "speaks in A riddles and vague anecdotes", "It's appalling(ly) ironic", and "forbearers" should be forebears. This is a fine piece. My tiny mind can't resist seizing the opportunity to point out grammatical errors. I find no errors in your logic. Ever.

  26. Arizona apparently learned nothing from their experiment in refusing to recognize Martin Luther King Day because, well, black. Tourist and convention business dropped dramatically, the NFL moved the SuperBowl and said they'd never get another one, musicians refused to do concerts there--and it didn't take long for economic pressures to force the bigots to rethink their decision. If Gov. Brewer is stupid enough to sign this bill, I suspect we'll see the same result.

    1. Just want to clear the record here. Gov. Evan Meacham rescinded the MLK holiday when he first took office. It came up for a vote and was voted down by a narrow margin. That was when the boycotts started. The next time it came to a vote by the citizens, it passed. AZ is the only state where the citizens voted for this holiday,
      against the wishes of the legislature. That said, I hate what our formerly progressive state has become. That is why I am leaving. I'm tired of being gerrymandered out of my vote.


  27. I am crying, this is such a sad sad day in America, that this should happen in this day and age. What would Jesus do? Probably turn his back, weeping, and wonder where he went wrong.....

  28. I'll be referencing this often while fighting the Good Fight against hate, bigotry, and assholes for jesus (as I like to call them). They were assholes in high school, then got out and discovered a new better way to be assholes using the word of god, but they're still assholes. I say it all the time.

  29. Some of those 7 verses about homosexuality have also been called into question. In the story in Leviticus, the townsmen wanted Lot to send out the visitors (who were men), but Lot offered his daughters instead. Ignoring the man's offer to let the townsmen gang-rape his daughters, why would he have offered *women* to homosexuals?

    And the follow-up in Ephesians doesn't mention homosexuality, either: “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen." (Ezekiel 16:49-50, for those who are playing along.)

    Seems to me that if the "detestable" thing were homosexuality, Ezekiel might have spelled that out. He had me at "gang-rape," though.

    Advantage: Wright.

    1. I would note here that the Lot story wasn't about Homosexuality - it was about the primary importance of Hospitality. The fact that a guest under one's roof was to be protected as well as fed and sheltered, even unto the death of those of your own family. Scholars say that the terms used in that story don't indicate a desire for homosexual rape on the part of the mob, but for robbing and killing them.

      Which Lot was bound to protect them from, even at the cost of his own life. As the Patriarch of the family, the only thing he had to substitute was his own offspring, as he had to remain alive to protect the family itself.

      Conservatives like to equate this to being a screed against homosexuality, but it is not.

  30. These are the people who make me want to just put my palm right through my forehead. I am a man of faith, and it makes it very, very difficult if I say that, because people automatically put me with the crowd of stark-raving lunatics who have hijacked it. I saw I'm a Christian, and people automatically assume I hate gays or abuse little boys.

    I know you've said repeatedly that you aren't a person of faith, but you're spot on in your analysis of what the Good Book actually doth sayeth.

    I'd like to believe that those are the parts that at least most of us Christians are trying to live, and at least around the churches I associate with, it generally is. I'm a Methodist, and social justice is pretty important to us, as is fellowship. Sadly, even within our church, there is the verge of a split over this right now as a large contingent is fighting very hard to reverse course on our acceptance of gay clergy and members.

    Jesus railed against the Pharisees, and we've gotten into this sense today like they're just the bad guys of the whole thing. Most people don't understand that they were the religious conservatives of their day. They were the pious, who were so hyperfocused on morality (and with a hell of a lot better reason, considering they were still living in the day and age where God had a tendency to smite entire nations for the misdeeds of a few,) that they completely forgot that God is about loving people as they are. Jesus was pretty pissed at them about that. Today's conservatives are no less Pharisees today.

    I know it's pretty cliche to say love the sinner and hate the sin, and I don't figure you do, but I hope that you don't lump anyone who says they're a Christian in with these people. I'm a man of faith, but I'm no member of the Westboro Baptist Church, and I am offended on behalf of God for this blatant abuse of Him to support an agenda of hatred and bigotry. They're the absolute antithesis of what God has expressly stood for.

    As usual, this is as well-said as could be, Jim.

    1. Peter, thank you. Word, word, and every word you said, my friend! I do want to add, however, that your instincts are correct: Jim Wright does *not* "lump anyone who says they're Christian in with these people." Maddeningly, because so often that is true in our dealings with the wider society, we can quite understandably default to the Oh-Damn-Not-AGAIN conclusion. But here, at least with this writer, that's entirely mistaken. Rest assured.

      That said, a personal note. My stream of Christianity is Presbyterian, PC(USA), and we're a few years ahead of the UMC on the road to doing to right thing vis a vis LGBT ordination. Fought about it for decades, lost many churches over it, and the fight is still not finished; this summer we vote to permit gay marriages by our clergy and in our churches (not just blessing commitment ceremonies, but full weddings) and I pray we again do the right thing. So what I am saying is, hang in there as your denomination struggles with this change. It'll get uglier before it's resolved, I guarantee. But as heart-rending as it has been to witness the fallout, I still would not change a single one of my votes. I am proud to be an Ally--not in spite of my faith but *because of it*--and the struggle will not be over until all our LGBT brothers and sisters achieve full equality: legal equality, social equality, and marriage equality!

      My guess in this Arizona abomination is that Gov. Jan "BroomRider" Brewer will veto it, doing the right thing but for the wrong reasons. Not because it's a sucky and stupid law but simply because the economic consequences will be vast, immediate, and painful. If there's anything these bulgy-eyed pulpit pounders worship more than the Almighty, it's the almighty Dollar. So she may hiss and foam and spit privately--and listen for the dog whistles as she tries to placate the bill's supporters--but in the end, she'll watch out for the business interests and protect the state's income stream, I bet.

    2. ...but I hope that you don't lump anyone who says they're a Christian in with these people

      I think I went out of my way in this post and in pretty much everything else I've written to emphasize that I don't. I have no particular beef with any particular religion or belief, unless it's used as an excuse for voluntary ignorance, bias, hatred, or as a cudgel to beat others into submission, or as justification for hypocrisy, murder, and hatred disguised as religious freedom.

      I'm not a believer. Never have been, and I've been exposed to enough religion, and to enough science, to know specifically why I don't believe (some of which should be evident in the subtext of this essay). I'm willing to take certain things on faith, but not God and most certainly not religion.

      However, I'm a reasonable person, show me evidence and I'll consider it, simple as that.

      Note that by "evidence" I mean the kind of scientific rigor necessary to withstand peer review and get published in an accredited and respected science journal. Given the entire scope of religious belief, surely there's something, The Great Deluge, The Ark, Life From Dirt, Man lives inside a whale, Resurrection, something that can stand up modern scientific scrutiny without resorting to magic, i.e. God Did It. This is my primary problem with Creationism, it can't withstand even rudimentary scientific rigor without resorting to magic fairy dust. Therefore it's not science. Period. End of argument. And it has no business being taught to school kids or forced upon a population as if it is, nor should it be used as the basis of law, government, society, or morality.

      I don't begrudge people their personal faith, but it's just that,personal. Keep it that way and we'll have no problems.

    3. Oh, I'm not a creationist by any stretch of the imagination, much to the chagrin of my more conservative friends. :) I tend to take the Bible seriously, but not literally, if that makes sense. I started college as an astronomer, and I still keep up with science as much as I can.

      I've read your stuff for a good long while now, and I do know that you don't generalize too much. On occasion, a bit, but I figure it's the medium more than a personal grudge against faith in general. That wasn't really my most eloquent reply above, either. I didn't mean to accuse you of generalization or to try to talk you into faith. I gave up on street evangelism back in college.

      At any rate, love your stuff. Keep up the good work. As a person of faith, it helps keep my on my toes.

  31. Nick formerly from the O.C.February 23, 2014 at 8:48 AM

    Stonekettle: Goddam what a well-written piece that absolutely nails this issue right to the cross where it comes from.

    Off to FB to share.

  32. We of the First Church of the Inaccurate Contraception consider shopping and dining out with our gay, devil-worshipping, Communist, (and also Nazi) friends to be a Holy Sacrament, on a par with Communion in the Catholic church. Any one who hinders that sacrament would be violating OUR religious freedom.

    Seriously, if this is signed by Gov. Brewer, I await with baited breath the circus of suits and counter-suits that could be forthcoming (can you say 'defamantion', 'loss of revenue', mental agony'?) Arizona could become the new Gold Rush for lawyers. Am I wrong?

    Also,Jim, you have stated in the first part of this essay exactly my feelings about those who claim to know the mind of god, and very eloquently. Usually, they make him look petty and thuggish when they tell the rest of us poor unwashed what he thinks.


  33. I'm surprised you left Matthew 25:34-46 off of your list of biblical quotations. Esp. as those who discriminate, those who ignore the poor and hungry, are the ones who spend eternity in the firy pits.

    It will be interesting to watch this play out, since the "show me your papers" law got the state such bad publicity and generated a negative economic impact. I am confused how the bill's sponsors somehow think that this discriminatory law will be different, that for some odd reason, businesses and people will flock to a state that openly discriminates.

    They say that history repeats itself. Historic cycles are apparently short in AZ.

  34. I grew up in Arizona and it's always been this way, though it's gotten even worse lately. There are plenty of progressives in Arizona as well, but not enough of them bother to vote...

  35. What happens if a gay black man is refused service? Beautifully written as always.

    1. The double negative rule kicks in and the man is served after all. Yay math!


  36. Hmmmmmm, let's say that I am a devout Catholic business owner. And let's say that I happen to run into one of my customers (or employee) at the local drug store. We stop to chat & I notice that my customer (or employee) is purchasing condoms or picking up their prescription for birth control pills. According to SB1062, I can lawfully refuse to serve my customer or fire my employee based on my sincere religious beliefs.

    Please know that I am not getting down on Catholics or any religion for that matter. I am merely trying to understand the ramifications if this bill is actually passed. If I am correct in my interpretation, then I sincerely hope that Gov. Brewer does the right thing & vetoes SB1062.

    Another thing that I don't understand is how baking a wedding cake or taking wedding photos denies anyone their ability to practice their religion.

    Now I know that I'm probably stretching here, but I sincerely believe that if even one "No Gays Allowed" sign goes up in even one business owner's window, that the people will once again take to the streets in protest. We already fought that battle in the 1960s & if need be, we will fight it again. I just hope that it doesn't come to that.

  37. They just leagalised the practice of Sharia law in Arizona. Irony thy name is Arizona. I know people who are boycotting Arizona now. This is going to get worse.

    1. I truly wonder why folks even retire in Arizona. Have many friends that winter there and absolutely zero are mentioning what is going on down there. That is the LAST place I'd purchase an expensive home in and all that goes with it.

      Arizona has done this type thing before - over declaring Martin Luther King day - they voted it down initially. Idiots!

  38. Jan Brewer has done the politically expedient thing before; for example, because I left Texas last year and came back to Arizona, I have an appointment for my very first physical exam ever, next month. Let's hope she vetoes this.

  39. Well Done, Sir, Well Done!!

  40. Gettin' me some popcorn. The response to this true moment of brilliance should piss off enough people to result in a truly great storm of butt-hurt. "How DARE you equate Christianity with Islam, goddammit!"

  41. The countryside of AZ is one of my favorite places to visit: nature at its most incredible. But can't visit nature without running into the humans (term used loosely) who run things. So, no more AZ vacations. Vote with my dollars. Thanks, Mr. Stonekettle, for your posts.

  42. Like yourself, I am but mere mortal, not in communion with the all knowing creator of the vast cosmos: ruler of all time and space.
    As such, I am often confused about my betters hatred for all that is different from them.
    Occasionally, I will find myself conversing with those who are able to interpret God's holy will right here on this dust speck, so that they might refresh me with their knowledge.
    In one such session, where one of the holy was explaining to me why people of the same sex should not allowed to be married, I was impertinent enough to inquire whether or not this person thought gay people chose to be gay or were, as I believed, in fact born that way.
    Of course, the answer was that they choose to be the way they were, and would be forgiven if they would repent and change their unholy ways.
    Seeking only enlightenment, my next question was: "So if you really wanted to, you could choose to be gay, because I don't think I could do that"?
    Thus ended the translation of God's Will for the day.

  43. So many people to hate... so little time... what's a poor bigot to do?

  44. Well stated, as always, Jim. Thanks for your insight, and for putting pen to paper (or, to be accurate, fingers to keys) in a way I only wish I could.

  45. There are two things we know about what Jesus would do:

    1. He never said a thing about homosexuality.

    2. He said the most important laws are to love God and your neighbor.

    So I lean toward thinking Jesus would ask Arizona's ruling class if they were out of their fucking minds.

    1. CAN'T pass this up either. Jesus might say Come.Sit. We'll break bread.We'll talk.Sounds like what he might say.

  46. The law, as written, actually says nothing about homosexuals. *Anyone* can refuse to do business with *anyone*, simply based upon their personal religious beliefs.

    This includes transactions where the state is a party:

    "A person whose religious exercise is burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding, and obtain appropriate relief against a government regardless of whether the government is a party to the proceeding."

    So I've got news for you, Mr. Maricopa County Tax Assessor: I think you are gay, or your office has gay employees, and maybe some jewish ones, and also women and it's against my religion to support the gay agenda, zionism or women who are not virgins.

    Don't like it? See you in court, and I got this fresh new Arizona law on *my* side!

    1. "So I've got news for you, Mr. Maricopa County Tax Assessor: I think you are gay, or your office has gay employees, and maybe some jewish ones, and also women and it's against my religion to support the gay agenda, zionism or women who are not virgins."


  47. Mark 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

  48. That was supposed to be John 14:15

  49. Thank you.
    It scares me that those who approved this bill were voted into office by over 50% of the voters in AZ. This is very terrifying. Liberals in America need to really stop and think about this ... and then get out the vote and put cash on the line for the candidates who support their liberal democratic republic position.

  50. Whar's wrong with y'all down there in Arizona?

    (Very well writen, Jim, as usual)

  51. I want to read your entire post before I comment on the contents. Since you seem to appreciate people who note typing errors, I'll post those as I see them (or I'd forget where they are).

    Near the beginning you have a paragraph that begins with "Never mind that Jesus himself never said a single word about it, for or against, and seriously, don’t you think he world?" I believe you intend the last word of what I have quoted to be "would" instead of "world."

  52. I had always hoped to see the Grand Canyon.

    1. There are several firms in Las Vegas offering helicopter tours of the Grand Canyon. That way, your money stays in Nevada.

  53. "to turn away gay and lesbian customers based solely on sexual orientation (or suspected orientation)"

    Or "suspected"??? Geez, will every man go back to wearing nothing but white shirts because they could raise suspicions"…?

    To conservatives, "corporations are people, my friend", buy gays are not… And these very people do it in the name of…their Christian faith? They sound more like the ancient priests of the days of human sacrifices to calm the gods…


    1. I want to know how a business owner will always be able to determine who is 'gay'? I would think that supposed 'gay' person could create major damage to that particular business - as to spreading the word and boycotting.

    2. Obviously, they'll have to be marked somehow. Perhaps some distinctive symbol attached to their clothing, so we can know who's who. A pink triangle would probably do nicely. (Also, Nazis.)

    3. Wouldn't that be a great way to drive the point home Randy? If the bill becomes law everyone who is gay, knows someone gay, supports any one who is gay, is Jewish or Muslim immediately sews the corresponding patch on their garments and simply say they understand what the law is and to save the legislature time they are self-identifying themselves. I'm thinking that coupled with Nazi salutes whenever they run into someone not wearing an ID (pink triangle, star or crescent) should effectively show the world who these sub-humans are. Friends in Arizona are hopeful that the protests and threats of boycotts kill this horrible bill but what no one says is even IF it is vetoed...the mind set of the "ruling class" there is horrifying. Happy in California...we're so liberal we hug conservatives and don't always hold our noses. Marlene

  54. Fantastic post, Jim. One of your best (and there have been a lot of great ones)!

  55. Yes. Absolutely!

    In my opinion, you've made a key point where you say "[y]ou just watch how fast the Christian sponsors and supporters of this bill start screaming in outrage when a Muslim refuses their business based on their religion."

    I believe we should all, to the best of our ability, act in ways that are fair. Fair to others. And also fair to ourselves. One really easy way to test for fairness is to imagine you are in "the other position" and honestly think about whether you will feel you have been treated fairly in that case. If you think the The Religious Bigotry Restoration Act is fair, imagine you are refused service because you aren't... well, whatever (Wiccan, Muslim, Bisexual, Polygamist, ...). Do you think that would be fair? Really?

  56. Fuckin' A Jm. Fuckin' A

    Funny thing is, I talked to Jesus just the other day, and he told me that he's totally sick of people using his name for hate and bigotry, and he thinks "gay people are just fine, thank you."

    That's a direct quote, by the way.

    1. Will, Your comment reminded me of one of my favorite movie quotes. I've added it to the top of the essay. Thanks // Jim

    2. Will, he said the same thing to me the other day. He's getting damn tired of the hatred and discrimination some people are showing toward others. HE created them. All of them. They must be God Approved then, right? He also thought we were way past this phase and starting to progress in the right direction, even if a bit slowly.

      Oh, and something about being really pissed off at the condition of the planet he gave us. I'm pretty sure we will NOT be getting a new one.......

      Excellent post, Mr Wright.
      Your atheist, God-fearing friend, bd

    3. Dear Arizona:
      Jesus may love you, but the rest of us think you are an asshole!

  57. "As we witness hostility towards people of faith grow like never before..."

    If certain people of faith would stop acting like dicks, the hostility would stop too.

    1. Stop with your logic! We'll have none of that nonsense infecting our "faith."

    2. Not to mention there isn't ANY "Hostility" to their faith, just their overblown sense of persecution.

    3. They keep saying that, but I have yet to see it. I've asked friends who identify as Christians if they are feeling persecuted or hostility against them because of their religion and none have reported negative actions against their faith. Hmmm.

  58. Greetings from warm, friendly* Tucson, Arizona.

    What if Gov. Brewer signs SB 1062 into law, but one's religion holds that a woman is not "to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence?" Could one then ignore the provisions of the bill?

    * for certain values of "friendly"

    1. What if Gov. Brewer vetoes SB 1062, but one's religion holds that a woman is not "to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence?" Could one then act as if the law was passed?

      Mycroft W

  59. Thank you for a great post, Jim!

    Having been brought up as an Evangelical fundie, i'm amazed at the mental gymnastics such folks do to keep up their beliefs without developing a crippling cognitive dissonance. The only conclusion i can make about God based on what "he" allows humans to do to each other is that he's got a pretty kinky mind.

    On a sardonic note, as a gay man i often find myself coveting my neighbor's ass. Oh, old English.

    It's reassuring to see the support from a lot of independent businesses here in downtown Tucson, with signs urging a veto.

    1. "..with developing a crippling cognitive dissonance." I think it is a done deal.

  60. I like the sign in the Arizona business going around on Facebook claiming the right to refuse business to Arizona Legislators!

    1. Here's the link:
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/21/roccos-little-chicago-pizzeria-arizona-anti-gay_n_4830936.html It's the story behind a Tucson-based restaurant, "Rocco's Little Chicago Pizzeria", posting this sign, and the support the company received for doing it: "WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE SERVICE TO ARIZONA LEGISLATORS." Love it!


  61. Nailed it again. Bravo!

  62. Well now w know where most of the most vitrolic of the Klu Klux Klan disappeared to : The Arizona Legislature.
    The Easy solution is to vote with your wallet. Boycott ALL ARIZONA PRODUCTS AND SERVICES, and REFUSE SERVICE TO THEIR STATE. Cut Them Off. Thank you Sir for your heartfelt thoughts, many agree with you.

  63. Gays have it pretty good here. Their lifestyle and sexual techniques are taught in our schools to children. They are usually the pillars of the community and the cool and virtuous in our television programs. And far from being hated, they are loved and admired in our culture by most. If the gays have any complaints they should move to India and see what it is like to truly be pariahs.

    1. Oh, good, I was hoping one of you guys would make an appearance. I have an honest question for you.

      What exactly is the "gay lifestyle"?

      I hear it used a lot and I still have no idea what it means.

    2. I'm curious about these "gay sexual techniques" myself. Because I've yet to see or hear tell of anything that gay people do that straight people don't, and I'd hate to think that, as a straight person, I'm missing out on something.

    3. Gays have it pretty good here.

      Anonymous, please define both "pretty good" and "here" in more detail.

      Because, frankly, "pretty good" sounds like "less than full citizens but at least we're not lighting them on fire so they've got nothing to bitch about," however, given the flat two-dimensional nature of internet comments, I might be reading something into your statement that you didn't intend. I don't think so, but I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt.

      That said, please do explain your statement in more detail, because you're obviously not from America and I'd really like to to know where this place is that LGBT people are "loved and admired by most."

    4. Well damn, we had health (!) education here in Tay-ex-sus when I was in high school, and we must have had the old books. Such a shame, because I'm sure that with a little ingenuity those "techniques" could be adapted...it was PUBLIC school too, we couldn't afford that parochial stuff!


    5. Everything you said can be written off as a lie from your second sentence. Nobody who doesn't buy into the right-wing lies and hate for LGTBs calls our lives a "lifestyle" because those of us who live in reality know it's not a choice.

    6. "Their lifestyle and SEXUAL TECHNIQUES are taught in our schools to children."

      One question: Where? Tell me one school where homosexual "techniques" are being taught. They can't even teach about birth control, but you believe they are being taught homosexuality? What color is the sky on your planet?

    7. Oh, come on, people! The "gay lifestyle"? You all know that that means, "Men dressing like they care how they look." And "Sexual techniques"? Means"Giving a shit about other people." Goddam sure it is being taught whenever I have anything to do with it, and I'm not even gay.

  64. Wow! Them's fightin' words!

    I am a pretty pious Catholic. I go to church, I take the sacraments, all of that. And I was reading this post and going "YES!"

    We can't read the mind of God, and it takes a lot of chutzpah to claim that any of us can. We have no right and no ability to speak for God, except in matters that God has been very clear about: we have to be good to each other; we have to forgive; we have to love one another; we dare not judge others; hypocrisy is evil.

    I can't say that I agree theologically with everything you posted above, but I am in wholehearted agreement that EVERYBODY has a right to be treated with love, respect and dignity, as human beings. It isn't our sexual orientation that makes us good or bad, it's how we treat each other.

    None of my gay friends are getting married right now, but if any were I would be honored to be invited to the wedding.

    1. From one RC to another, don't forget, marriage is THE sacrament that the participants confer upon each other with the church as witness. HMC says that withholding her approval makes the marriage invalid, but they've been wrong before! The women in CA who had been together for 55 years convinced me; that ought to be a sign of real sacrificial love in anyone's book! My spouse and I have made 27!


  65. You know Jim, I think you put the big disclaimers about being offended at the top of these articles just to get us more interested in reading. I mean how can I resist something that is going to offend so many religious types? (-;

  66. The one that rang with me was your reference to a response from supporters of the law should a muslim shop owner decide to invoke the law. I think the law should direct that any store/business/preacher/person that uses the law to deny service should be posted as such. Let's see who supports bigotry. Bring back the Scarlet Letter as the second letter of the alphabet -- B for bigotry.

    Michael W.

  67. Excellent post, as usual - thank you!
    As for the "preachers" who hear God - there's medication these days for people who hear voices in their heads...

  68. The entire post is most excellent. Your point of the absurdity of such a supposedly omnipotent being giving a crap about a couple of gay people (a) pledging their love to each other and (b) having the same legal rights as other humans is excellent. You paint them for what they are - bigoted haters who use their trumped-up "religious tenets" to justify their bigotry.

    But your most important point is in the last paragraph:

    "50 years later, the hateful bigots are still among us, still wrapped in the hoods and robes of their small and fearful religion, working to turn back the clock with a return to Jim Crow and Segregation. The target of their hate may be different this time around, but it’s no less vile and loathsome. They, like those who came before them, are firmly on the wrong side of history and one day, just like their fore bearers, that history will show them for what they truly are. "

    To be perfectly clear - there is no difference. The enforcers of Jim Crow, the KKK, the persecutors of Jews, the Taliban, and this crowd are all the same: the exact opposite of the exhortations you quote from the bible. And why did the writers of the bible feel it necessary to stress those noble principles so much? Because their world was full of these people too. Sadly, they aren't going away. It appears to be the basest of human nature to hate anyone different going back to hating the people from the cave on the other side of the mountain. If it is not inborn, then it is taught easily.


    Don Cooley

  69. As a Gay man and former Christian, THANK YOU!!

  70. Until you offer conclusive and incontrovertible proof to the contrary, I must take essays such as this one as evidence that you may well and truly actually be me. I THINK we are different people but must acknowledge that I could be wrong (about this and only this).

    1. pfft.. Easy enough to figure out. The next time you are having a romantic moment with the person of your choice, call him/her "Mrs. Wright". If you get slapped, you are not our host.

  71. Hi, Jim,

    A most excellent post. Knowing you like to get all the typos, may I kindly point out that "being" should be "be" in this early on sentence:

    Leaving aside the fact that believers always structure the question in the past tense, which is fairly odd given that the guy in question is supposed to being a living deity....

    Otherwise, truly you have hammered the nail precisely on the head. Thanks for continuing to think and share your thoughts with all of us.

    Fair winds, shipmate, and following seas,

    Old Navy Comm O

    1. How did I miss that? Fixed. Thanks for the assist.

  72. What Jesus says to remorseful sinners: "Go and sin no more".
    As Christians we want to show God's love to those around us. So, what are we to do when presented with people who are determined to behave in ways that are harmful to themselves? Do you hand a knife to a cutter? Do you pour a drink for the struggling alcoholic? To the Christian, homosexuality or any sexual immorality, is a harmful pattern of behavior. The reason for not participating in gay weddings is not hate. It is because of love that we say no.

    1. Ah, so Segregation, it's for gay people and not for yourself. Right. Got it.

      I think your definition of love needs some work.

    2. Please prove that LGBTs are actually harming themselves. And I mean real, provable harm. A person doing something that is against your personal translation of a book is not harm. (Do note that not all Christians think that homosexuality is a sin.)

      You're free to think that LGBTs are sinners all you wish. That's your right under the First Amendment. But you do not have the right to refuse to deal with them simply because they don't align with your personal beliefs. You are not allowed to discriminate simply because you think they're doing something wrong.

      And frankly, you need to learn what love really is. You also need an ego check.

    3. @Jedi Master:
      After reading the bible (many versions) through about 5 or 6 times, I began to doubt the authenticity of parts of it, based not only on internal contradictions, but on content, authorship, and historical provenance.

      Bedrock Christian doctrine states that the New testament supersedes the old, and we don't have to live by the vicious mandates in Deuteronomy any more, such as killing someone who doesn't keep the sabbath, or who is rebellious

      If you want to discriminate against behavior by "gay" people, you now must only consider the New Testament, right?

      To Jim''s points about Jesus' actual words in the gospels, he said not ONE thing about the LGBT folks.

      In the New Testament, you only have Paul of Tarsus railing about such matters, which is not surprising as he was a Pharisee of the first order, and continued on in that vein, even after his conversion on the Damascus road.

      So let's look at Paul's letters in the light of biblical scholarship and history.

      Paul's personal letters to various church folks were not considered by many people to be "inspired" until around the time of the Council of Nicea or in the immediate aftermath.

      What you read in your modern versions of the bible has been through the hands of many humans, and translated, changed, fought over, and edited over thousands of years.

      Taking it at absolute face value, and thinking that every word is "inspired" is purely illogical based on the work of many scholars and devoted study of the history of the bible.

      Biblical scholars have discounted many of the Pauline letters as not written by Paul at all, and that has big implications as to the veracity of the other letters .


      There's a lot more detail to this, which I will not go into here, but suffice to say that if we've learned anything about the character of Jesus, it is forbearance, forgiveness, and living in peace with your fellow humans.

    4. Wow, so that is what a Jedi says? Hmm..you know ,in MY religion, I believe stupidity should be painful so as to teach lessons on intellectual improvement. So, if I smack everyone badly cherry-picking the Bible to improve their actual reading comprehension, that is AOK, right?

    5. A better question, Sybral, would be how Jesus feels about a self-declared Christian who wraps himself in the title of another religion.

      There's a commandment about that, I believe.

    6. "It is because of love that we say no."

      Jedi, that is what wife beaters and people that whip their children or beat their dogs say. Justification. In the name of God. And you wonder why law abiding, moral people with no religion look at people like you in shock and bewilderment?


      "I don't WANT to hurt you, but it's for your own good."

    7. Jedi Master is baiting us, or himself. ( or is that too subtle?)

    8. Any crappy excuse to justify your bigotry. Thanks for making it clear for all to see.

    9. You know when you have created God in YOUR own image, when your God hates all the same people that you do.

  73. I wonder what, if anything, this will mean for members of the Native American Church and their right to use Peyote, Mormon fundamentalists and their desire to have multiple wives, or members of the Afro-Caribbean religions who want to perform animal sacrifice. I understand that the bill was intended to protect the right of Evangelical Christians to discriminate... however it seems to me that they may have inadvertently bolstered the position of minority religions.

    1. Actually, the right of members of the Native American Church to use peyote in religious ceremonies has already been upheld in federal courts. But there is the difference - it is allowed as part of religious ceremonies, not in every day, all the time life.
      If deeply religious people want to tell gays to get out of their churches, they already can. But they cannot refuse to rent an apartment to black people - or to gays.
      Chandra in MO

    2. I want to watch as Mormon store clerks refuse to sell tobacco, tea, coffee, and booze to their oh-so-very-Christian brethren!

  74. OK, I am an atheist. However, seems to me, and as Jim defines at masterful length, tolerance, love, charity, humility ARE the defining practices in "practicing Christianity".

    SB1062 is by every criteria I can see, the Not practicing of the Christian religion.

    Please, commenters who think selling anything to or employing a gay person is somehow making you into a sinner (or something), can you clarify?

    1. Some of the most spiritual, wonderful giving people I have met, have been non-practicing, or atheistic.

  75. So I would guess that any and all issues related to health, infrastructure, the general welfare of its citizenry, etc. have been successfully addressed by the Arizona legislature; just this one last mess to clean up, and we're living in Utopia. Just wow.

  76. Jon Talton ( http://www.roguecolumnist.com ) usually refers to these political idiots as members of the "Kookocracy" …… he's right.

  77. .

    Please. Let us all agree.

    Forget about "keeping Christ in Christmas!" Let us all have more Christ in Christians?

    Ema Nymton

  78. A law (or attempted law) can be so extreme as to undermine the position of those who created it and cause a backlash against them. The ultimate impact of this one will be not negative, but positive.

  79. I have read that the Super Bowl for 2015 is slated for Arizona. That should not happen, nor should any conventions or conferences, or tours of the Grand Canyon. Even if Brewer vetoes this outrage, the legislators who passed this piece of bigotry should bear consequences.

  80. As someone said here early on, "massive extra credit" for bringing Ms Simone to the table on this one!
    I went and read the text of the passed bill and the link Mr Wright provided offers (some kind of ) the rationale for this obnoxious elevation of religious-freedom.
    I found this as well:

    which makes some interesting points.
    Should this pass into law, those discriminated against by someone exercising their "religious freedom", with the notable exception of our LGBT neighbors, would have a possible remedy in a federal civil rights suit. There is no federal protection for our LGBT citizens. Bleah.
    Such cases would turn on which right trumps what right? Anyone have an idea? Women paid less because their boss invokes religious -freedom as a rationale for worth-less?
    The way this stoopid dealie is worded local governments in AZ which have afforded some kind of protections to LGBT citizens could be trumped or at least embroiled in messy suits trying to prove compelling-interest stuff. Pfft!
    What ticked me off the most though is the realization that AZ has so few protections for LGBT citizens that this is actually a stoopid law, first and foremost, because it addresses a NON-issue. And likely would create a whole nasty set of other issues. PFFFTTTT!

  81. Great essay. Thank you!

  82. I've never been to this site before or read any of your material. I appreciate your knowledge of the Word, and agree with much of what you have laid out. You have entered the debate with serious contemplation and still kept a sense of humor, something the world could use much more of. I am an Evangelical Christian and completely concur that Jesus would always forgive the sins & taught us to love all. However, I feel you and are missing the point of legislation. I don't live in Arizona and won't pretend to know any of the details. What I do know is the thought process and heart of the people who genuinely feel their religious rights are being infringed upon. So instead of demeaning, mocking or generally approaching this with the condescending attitude often found in these forums, try to see it from the others point of view. I will start with an assumption you made toward the end of the article. That being, Christians would be upset if they were refused service from a Muslim establishment or business of some type. I assert to you, that the Christians who do not feel comfortable employing or providing a service for gay couples or paying for someones birth control, Would Not attempt to do business with these groups in the first place. For example, I go to the only gas station in our town that is not owned by Muslims. I don't shop at Target. These are just two examples of how I respect God without disrespecting anyone else. To me, it is just common courtesy to not go where I am not welcome. I don't feel like a victim because of that. But the lgbt community pushes themselves into these businesses that dont want them. Your thought that I would be offended and have a hissy fit because a gay person wouldn't bake me a cake is completely wrong. A. I would not ask them to bake my cake in the first place. B. I would find someone else that would. End of story. This law doesnt say they cant have their cakes made. It says I dont have to be the one to do it. That is perfectly reasonable. No one's rights have been infringed upon.
    The other thing I wanted to explain is why we have a problem paying for birth control and abortions. You see, murder is one of the ten commandments. And many Christians believe abortions and the drugs used to induce them is murder. When asked to choose between the state law or God's law....many Christians will choose God's law every time. And rightfully so. They will fight in the courts so as to not violate the laws of the state. And if the state makes it mandatory to support these services, each Christian has a decision to make. The people fighting for these rights to remain faithful to their religion are not necessarily bigots. They are trying to do what they feel is the right thing, as the state and others are making it nearly impossible and against the law.
    Finally what many need to understand is that true Christians (the ones you very eloquently & rightly described in the article) ascribe their success in the business world and in every aspect of their lives to God. And they know if they begin to conform to this world and go against His will, there blessing is in danger and their relationship with the Lord is in danger. For a real Christian, those things are far more powerful and motivating than any law will ever be.

    1. I go to the only gas station in our town that is not owned by Muslims.

      The difference, Anonymous, is that you have a choice where you buy your gas and groceries - which is a right that you would deny others.

      Note: Your declaration of piety by refusing to buy gas from Muslim owned business amuses me. The guy who founded your religion? He never did business with those who weren't of his faith? I guess that makes you a better Christian than Jesus, eh?

      I assume you've taken the necessary steps to ensure that none of the fuel you buy from the lone non-Muslim station comes from Kuwait or Saudi Arabia or Nigeria? Seems to me, if you really wish to demonstrate the strength of your convictions, you'd walk. Or ride a donkey, like Jesus.

      I don't shop at Target.

      Why? And please be explicit in your answer. Why won't you shop at Target? List the reasons.

      This law doesnt say they cant have their cakes made. It says I dont have to be the one to do it. That is perfectly reasonable. No one's rights have been infringed upon.

      There's a hell of a lot more to this than cake, Anonymous. Vastly more. And you know it, or damned well should.

      The other thing I wanted to explain is why we have a problem paying for birth control and abortions. You see, murder is one of the ten commandments. And many Christians believe abortions and the drugs used to induce them is murder. When asked to choose between the state law or God's law....many Christians will choose God's law every time. And rightfully so.

      It in no way whatsoever surprises me that you managed to work your way around from gay people to birth control and abortion. One thing about evangelicals, you are certainly predictable.

      Just to be clear, since you are opposed to "murder," may I assume that you are also staunchly opposed to war? To military force in any form that leads to death? To deadly force used by the police? How about the death penalty? Guns? How about Israel, a non-christian nation that routinely uses deadly force against its citizens? May I assume that you vocally oppose use of your tax dollars going to support the same? Since you oppose "murder" in accordance with the commandments, I mean - or are you going to pull the standard Evangelical dodge on me and tell me that those things don't lead to murder, in far, far greater numbers than all the abortions to date combined? (Note, before you answer, consider that war is my profession, I've fought in several of them, wars started by evangelical Christians just like you, I know a bit about the subject).

      How about allowing poor people to starve to death? How do you feel about that? Or die because they can't get healthcare? Something tells me you're opposed to your tax dollars going to help those people, but I'm willing to give you benefit of the doubt, Christian. By all means, please do tell.

    2. If you Christians would spend as much time, energy, and money on controlling yourselves as you do on worrying about the acts of others, you might make more of a positive impression. Mostly, the loudmouths passive such bills as this one and dressing it in religious garb come across as mean, frightened, and hate-filled sorts usurping the free will that your alleged God gave to humans. And by the way, you are a hypocrite if you dare complain of "paying for birth control" while NOT complaining about paying for the weapons of mass destruction that US taxpayers buy for the US military to use EVERY day. Or did I miss something about "Thou shalt not kill" being one of the biggees? Or are YOU cherry picking and applying that to nothing except fetal life?

    3. I'm always confused that people who object to abortion so much would object to birth control. It seems to me that birth control prevents many unwanted pregnancies (and therefore prevents subsequent abortions). But then I know where discussing birth control with evangelicals leads... i.e. birth control = sex for fun = evil.

    4. As for the Target boycott, in 2004 Target banned Salvation Army bell ringers for policy reasons. In 2006 they donated $1 million to get the Salvation Armys Angel Tree program started and they donate yearly 100% of the profits from the sale of certain ornaments. I don't think the Salvation Army approves of the boycott. There are also a few conspiracy theories you can find on Snopes: Target is French owned, Target is Muslim owned, Target is anti- veteran.

    5. I'm aware of the conspiracy theories surrounding Target. I want Anonymous @8:10 to specifically spell out why he/she won't shop at Target. I don't want to guess at his/her reasons, I want them clearly stated by the original poster.

    6. I wonder what will happen when Anon goes into a restaurant and is told they will not be served because they are a bigot and the owners religious beliefs consider such as sinners. What if a business owner looked at them and said 'you look gay, I don't serve your kind here'

  83. As a practicing Christian I find myself defending Christianity against those who would pervert its message for their own selfish gains. These so called Christians are actually apostates that have rejected the central message of Christianity and seek to use Christ to enslave certain members of society whose behaviours they find objectionable. These "Christians" are analogous to the witch hunters or the crusaders burning and killing in the name of the Lord. How will they identify LGBT patrons? Will they also extend their outrage to the money changers?

  84. Once again the lack for foresight and critical thinking is going to cost Az money, time and respect. If Jan signs this terrible piece of legislation, the only winners will be the lawyers who will litigate the numerous law suits that it will generate.

    I lived in AZ for 4 years before coming up to AK. I haven't been back in over a decade. I was planning on visiting for work this summer. We'll see how this little piece of legislation is getting along down there in a few months.

  85. I hesitate to predict what Jan will do, she occasionally shows flashes of normalcy, but if she does sign it, I would guess it will be challenged before the ink is dry on her signature. I would hope the challenge is up held. I think this is just the local witch burners trying to irritate everyone else and keep their collection plates full. Since they outnumber us in enough districts to pull this nonsense off, the more normal people in Arizona are kind of stuck with mumbling when someone asks where we are from.

  86. "Let him that is without sin cast the first stone."
    That's the verse that kept coming to mind as I read this.
    Seems like some of the biggest stone casters have been folks like "Diaper Dave" Vitter, John (pay off mistress's husband) Ensign, & Congressman Wide Stance, to name a few. And we all know how much Jesus liked hypocrites.

  87. Thanks Jim, a perfect dissection of this religious mess our country has steadily and sub-evolved to. I have been declared a Hell-Bent heathen for calling in to question events both in past and present that in my opinion are doing more to destroy this great country more than any LGBT person or terrorist could ever think of doing. Were to start. Your post nails much of this to the wall.

    Our currency - it should never have been allowed to have "In God We Trust" placed on our nations currency. "We are equal as one" comes to mind as an alternate suggestion.

    The original pre-Cold War era version of the Pledge of Allegiance should have remained intact without the insertion of "under God".

    The fact that in many courts of U.S. law, a person should never have to place a hand atop a Bible and state "so help me God"

    If I were to become President (better happen quick) upon my oath my hand will be resting on a First Edition of Steinbeck's "Sweet Thursday" because that is the basis of MY religion.

    I could go on for an eternity (sorry, could resist).

    On rare occasions the television finds itself on. At times I dial in to one of those giant religious shows, often in some mega-hall somewhere surrounded by vehicles less than 2 years old (Have you ever seen a 1973 AMC Gremlin parked at one of them places?) I mute the volume and observe. I ponder if I was able to cash in all the diamonds and gold adorning the preacher(s) how much food and usable clothing I could then buy for those in my town.

    I do see those out there that in my opinion, represent and follow a life according to what the Bible lays out. They may be rich or poor, doesn't matter. Ethnicity does not matter. Gender, age or sexual orientation, doesn't matter. They are often quiet, honest and humble. You see them volunteering at various places that help those in need. You see them stop and help when a need is present. They readily give what they have and ask for nothing in return. Their eyes see all the great things both on earth and universe with clear, unfiltered lenses. That in my opinion is a person of "Faith".

    Yet those that Jim identifies here are indeed the scourge of this earth. They cherry pick what they like; insert, interpret, twist, add or delete what they want to get their way. They are lemmings, unable to guide their own life. They sway to the music, hold their arms high and close their eyes in some sort of hypocrisy induced God-gasm. The worst of it all is they vote (always) and reproduce.

    I think I will watch Up in Smoke tonight and finish off the evening with Blazing Saddles (my Oh My God! - cult movies) which both will dove-tail well with my nightcap reading of the gospel according to Steinbeck "Sweet Thursday". Peace and goodwill to you all and thanks Jim, your are a true Savior.

    1. The original pre-Cold War era version of the Pledge of Allegiance should have remained intact without the insertion of "under God".

      And it should never have been made mandatory, "under God" or otherwise. That's the political side of it, but they both stem from the same patriarchal authoritarianism. Which is a very strange place for all the current "FREEDOMMMM 'n LIBERTEEE!!" to be emanating from, too, but nobody ever said this world would make sense....

  88. Haven't read the thread yet, but I'll go out on a limb and predict not one single solitary non-frothing rebuttal made it past moderation...

    you watch just how fast evangelicals backpedal when businesses start refusing them service, when employers start firing them or paying them less based solely on that little cross hanging around their necks

    Christianity was born in persecution, and after the dust settled, the cross upon which the alleged Jesus was allegedly crucified became the preferred symbol. The persecution of all Christians personified in one bloody body nailed to a tree for all eternity (in simulated mahogany, with realistic blood, and Goldtone trim. Order now!). The evangelical Protestants seem to have hung on to their persecution much better than other sects, and made it almost a fetish. I'm being facetious here, but Jebus, doesn't it almost seem as though they love persecution so much they want everyone else to experience the joy of it?
    They'll always be first in line, though, and this law is custom-made to guarantee them a heaping helping when it's a) rejected by Gov Brewer in a fit of sanity, or b) thrown out in court, after the first lawsuit (due in probably about a week after passage), or c) when, as you predict, "businesses start refusing them service" which, this being Arizona, could actually happen. Hell, one pizzeria has already put up a sign claiming the right to refuse service to legislators. This could get interesting.

  89. Well, I stand corrected, I see. Three reasonably undisagreeable disagreements (at least as far as spittle-fleckedness goes). Maybe the word is getting out?

  90. a side note the WWJD folks were not Christians and after they made their millions actually bragged about how easy it was to play the Christians...knowing they would assume that it was a Christian group...well done I say!

  91. (My first post. I've been lurking here ever since discovering Stonekettle Station by way of a link to an amazingly powerful essay on the government shutdown in October.)

    Yet another point the fundies are missing on this issue is their utter disregard of the Third Commandment: Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
    How does this apply, you may ask? After all, they're not (publicly, explicitly) running around yelling "God damn all fags to hell!" or similar (the Westboro Baptist Church and those of similar ilk notwithstanding).
    However, it's important to first note that the name of God is *not* "God." (See the book of Exodus.)
    No, it's always seemed to me that the REAL meaning of "taking in vain" is to use "God" to falsely imbue one's own prejudices with the imprimatur of a higher power. To use the name in an empty manner just to make oneself look better, or for personal gain.
    "God" isn't telling you to make a "love offering" to that slick-haired televangelist; the preacher is. "The Lord" doesn't want the preacher's wife to have a new, gold-plated Cadillac; she does. And "Jehovah" doesn't want the shopkeeper to turn away gays, or blacks, or Muslims; that's a personal decision of the bigot, and it should not be supported by the government, if only because of the Establishment Clause.

    Bravo Zulu on yet another powerful, insightful essay, Chief! And thank you for giving us a safe haven from the maelstrom of right-wing feldercarb.

  92. Hello,

    Been reading Stonekettle Station for a few months, first time commenting.

    I read Jim’s post, the proposed legislation, and the comments here. After all of that, I wanted to check something with any lawyers that might be lurking around. Paragraph C, section 1 says that the "person’s" exercise of religion may be substantially burdened if doing so is “In furtherance of a compelling governmental interest”.

    My knowledge of legal-speak is limited. I’m assuming that this clause is in there to prevent some inquisitor wanna-be from applying “thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” (or similar felony inspiring messages from religious texts) as a legal exercise of religion…but it also sounds like weasel words to allow a judge to have leeway in deciding whether to allow discrimination to occur based on the judge’s own beliefs.

    Jim and several commenters have brought up how religious fundamentalists will howl when businesses start discriminating against them. It seems to me that the law is written such that religion as an excuse for discrimination is only legal if the judge says it is, and I doubt it’ll be applied evenly.

    Am I close, or am I missing something here?


  93. sorta close


    note the difference between rational basis, heightened scrutiny, and strict scrutiny.
    these yahoos want strict scrutiny to apply, which means the govt has to be the one to prove a compelling government interest.
    note :
    "Once a court determines that strict scrutiny must be applied, it is presumed that the law or policy is unconstitutional. The government has the burden of proving that its challenged policy is constitutional. To withstand strict scrutiny, the government must show that its policy is necessary to achieve a compelling state interest. If this is proved, the state must then demonstrate that the legislation is narrowly tailored to achieve the intended result"

  94. "Tolerance is not the same thing as acceptance, and acceptance is not the same thing as an endorsement." -- from another worthwhile read on this subject:


  95. Dear sweet gods, you are the best. I may have actually cheered a little bit - and I damn sure copied that set of Scriptures as ammunition for the next twat who tells me I'm going to Hell.

    And then, and *then*, that last line - that last shot of humor startles a laugh out of the reader and just caps the whole thing off. You, sir, are a master wordsmith.

  96. It looks like the good people of Georgia aren't wanting to be left behind in the action.


  97. Say all you wish about modern Christians. After you are done go look at the fate of Alexandria. It's universities were destroyed, it's libraries decimated. Alexandria has a long history to be sure but look at the gutting of knowledge at the hands of the Christians. The loss of so much knowledge is irreplaceable. This has been the operating system of most Religions for many centuries. They have a vested interest in ignorant. The dumber and more compliant are easier to control.

    1. Um, the Library at Alexandria burned long before the Christians got to it. They did do it again, but they weren't the first to do so. Now if you wanted to talk about the Mayan texts, then you have a story to tell.

  98. Talk about a slippery slop. A cab driver won't pick up a Muslim because it's against his religion. An employer won't hire a qualified woman because his religion tells him a women's place is in the home being subservient to her husband. School administrators won't admit Hindus because they worship other gods. Native Americans are denied employment because they may not be Christian. Yeah Mississippi Goddman ~ Nina Simone. And now Arizona Goddamn ~ Jim Wright. BTW, it's still Mississippi Goddman. We can just add more and more states.

  99. Jim,

    Another stellar post ... as usual. Though not even a Christian, you've dismantled the sham "theology" of those pushing this insane new law.

    Unfortunately, I believe the REAL problem, is that many (if not most) of those pushing for this law care NOT ONE IOTA about religion, theology or Jesus.

    In fact, they're LIARS and hypocrites -- a bunch of corrupt, amoral politicians who care only about power, money and gaining more of both.. Bashing LGBTs is -- just like the Right Wing's very real "war on women" -- merely one of their tried-and-true tactics for increased fund-raising and voter-base-building.

    An example of the evidence supporting this is how poorly written and badly thought out this law is -- and yet its supporters continue to pretend that it stands a chance of remaining on the books (which it does not).

    Another example: there is to my knowledge not ONE study showing that the increasing number of states passing marriage equality laws have done ANY damage of ANY kind to the institution of heterosexual marrage.

    We're not actually battling religious dogma here so much as a bunch of scum who are wasting OUR time and tax dollars to enact what even THEY know is an unconstitutional and unenforceable law -- all simply to enrich themselves.

    In fact, they're no better than the money changers at the temple and the Bible is VERY clear about what Jesus did about THEM.

    1. I'd suggest that they're much worse than the money-changers in the temple -- since they have the example in their own Scripture of their Messiah going all Medieval on the money-changers asses (back before Medieval was cool) -- a benefit said financial agents lacked....

      -- Ayelmar

  100. Jim,
    Good writing as usual, thank you.
    I've been saying it for awhile now...Gay is the new Black.

    Keep up the good fight.
    You inspire us.

  101. I love a snarky spirituality.

  102. A powerful piece Jim...the folks you are writing about always miss this one from Mathew 7:15...

  103. Interesting article I can’t help but to muse to myself how in a majority of what you wrote was an attempt to point out the hypocrisy of Christians being condescending, judgmental and demeaning to gays in a way that you yourself was condescending, judgmental and demeaning to Christians. I found how wonderfully hypocritical that was.

    Now on to my main point. I am not a bible thumper But what I do believe is in freedom, liberty, the rule of law presented in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. This is not the first place I have heard of this law so I did a little bit of research to find out WHY this law was passed. Like most laws they are not proactive they are reactive just like this one. It is a direct reaction to “The New Mexico Human Rights Act” where the state was able to sue a photographer for declining a job opportunity at a gay wedding.

    So now that you know I believe in the constitution lets see what it says in the first sentence of the first article of the Bill of Rights “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” So according to the Constitution the Arizona congress made a law respecting an establishment of religion so under the constitution that law should be unconstitutional as well as in New Mexico where their congress made a law prohibiting the free exercise thereof that is also unconstitutional. You can’t believe in the separation of church and state without also believing in the separation of state and church!

    I agree with you 100% that the Arizona law is unconstitutional and gay people have the right to be gay and there should be no law passed by congress removing their rights however, do you agree with me that the New Mexico law is also unconstitutional under the “prohibiting the free exercise thereof” part of the clause? And let the free market decide if the choice they made in “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone” was a sound choice. It is always interesting to me how so many people remember the first half of that sentence but seem to conveniently forget the second half that in itself is true hypocrisy.

    1. So, you what? You agree with me, but you don’t like my tone, so you just couldn’t help being a jackass? Is that it?

      […] majority of what you wrote was an attempt to point out the hypocrisy of Christians being condescending, judgmental and demeaning to gays in a way that you yourself was [sic] condescending, judgmental and demeaning to Christians. I found how wonderfully hypocritical that was.

      Except for where you missed that I’m not a Christian.

      I profess no adherence to the vocally expressed Christian ideology that is the specific subject of this essay, i.e the religious doctrine that Evangelical Christians point to in an attempt to return to Jim Crow. The Christian Bible, i.e. the so-called moral law they wish to impose upon the rest of us, explicitly admonishes Christians from judging. Again, as specifically noted in the text, I’m not a Christian. I can judge or mock whomever I please, and do.

      The hypocrisy isn’t that I don’t adhere to the Christian doctrine; it’s that the self-proclaimed Christians in question don’t adhere to their own rules.

      […]So now that you know I believe in the constitution[…]

      Implying what? That I don’t? Talk about condescending.

      The Constitution, and the law that depends from it, doesn’t care what you believe.

      There are plenty of folks left in America who believe they have to the right to deprive others of rights and liberty due to any number of noxious reasons, religion chief among them – take a look at a few of the previous comments from Evangelicals if you need proof, that’s why I allowed them to post. If you substituted “black” for “LGBT” or “Jew” for “Muslim” in the justification behind this legislation or in those comments, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

      You can’t believe in the separation of church and state without also believing in the separation of state and church!

      We most certainly can, and do, and have since the very first day the 1st Amendment was ratified. The state is required to intervene, specifically when the church in question is determined to deprive those not of its congregation of equal protection under the laws of the United States. Or take a church that believes in polygamy or human sacrifice or mass suicide or public nudity or statutory rape or human bondage or the extermination of those they deem unfit – all beliefs that currently exist among various churches in the US. The state limits the free expression of religion all of the time, by specific Constitutional design, and for damned good reason - because we don’t live in a theocracy despite unending attempts to the contrary.

      …do you agree with me that the New Mexico law is also unconstitutional under the “prohibiting the free exercise thereof” part of the clause?

      No. See the previous paragraph. And the court doesn’t agree with you either.

    2. And let the free market decide if the choice they made in “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone” was a sound choice.

      Ah, yes, the magic free market solution. That would be the same solution that so decisively guaranteed the rights of African Americans? That Free Market? Right?

      Look, the wedding photographer in the New Mexico case has nobody to blame but themselves. They could have declined to accept the commission, they could have been polite and professional about it. Instead they chose to make a religious and political statement and make their refusal to accept the job a public condemnation of gay people. Again, substitute “black” for “gay,” still sound okay to you? The individual rights enumerated in the 1st Amendment do not trump the right to equal protection under the law – or maybe you just missed the entire Civil Rights Era? Was I too subtle with the Nina Simone reference?

      It is always interesting to me how so many people remember the first half of that sentence but seem to conveniently forget the second half that in itself is true hypocrisy.

      There’s no hypocrisy, you’re reading it wrong – and that’s not my opinion, that’s the opinion of the US Supreme Court. You’re welcome to take it up with them.

  104. If they're serious about this, how are they going to determine who they are supposed to ostracize in this manner? It brings to mind those godawful stars and other symbols a certain group imposed on undesirables. I'm so glad I no longer live in AZ.
    Another home run, Mr. Wright, which I will share widely.

  105. Gov Brewer won't sign the law because it is bad politics. IMHO, no such law should be necessary, and it seems that the appeal to religion is a pretext to get around having to argue why discrimination is perfectly acceptable. The Constitution guarantees a right to association, meaning you can voluntarily transact with whomever you want or refuse to do so for any reason whatsoever. This Constitutional right to discriminate sounds grossly unfair until you look at the economics of it. If cake maker A won't serve LGBT, he looses out on revenue and cake maker B gets the business. If A continues to define his clientele narrowly, he will struggle or fails while B prospers.

    Most entrepreneurs have enough common sense to focus on the color of people's money rather than of their skin or other traits. Only when government outlaws such self-interest across the board does discrimination become intractable and insurmountable. Otherwise, it is a problem that solves itself. Think about it. If a restaurant or theater posted a "Whites Only" sign today, who would go there? A cake maker that refuses business may gain some customers but will lose more. No couple with money for a cake won't be able to find one.

    Forcing involuntary transactions is a violent crime perpetrated by our government, an unnecessary and abominable (but typical) solution to a problem that would otherwise solve itself. Government should force neither tolerance (anti-discrimination) or intolerance (segregation). Adam Smith's invisible hand is quite capable of bitch-slapping stupid entrepreneurs.

    1. Forcing involuntary transactions is a violent crime perpetrated by our government, an unnecessary and abominable (but typical) solution to a problem that would otherwise solve itself.

      Except for the part where it never does. Solve itself, I mean.

      When unregulated, the Free Market is perfectly capable of doing just exactly the opposite, in point of fact. The free market is perfectly capable of perpetuating institutionalized hatred, bigotry, segregation, apartheid, and Jim Crow. If it wasn't, we wouldn't be having this conversation. The examples are too numerous to count. Quod erat demonstrandum.

      Government should force neither tolerance (anti-discrimination) or intolerance (segregation).

      Government exists to protect the weak from the ruthless, otherwise what damned good is it?

      Adam Smith's invisible hand is quite capable of bitch-slapping stupid entrepreneurs.

      Perhaps. But if Adam Smith could be depended on, Arizona would have learned its lesson when it lost the Superbowl last time around.

      Since we're tossing around platitudes, here's another one for you: Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

    2. Thanks for the reply, Jim. The beauty of the free market is that some entrepreneur will always recognize the opportunity and fill it. Many segregation era white entrepreneurs found ways to serve African Americans on the sly in spite of state governments outlawing voluntary transactions. Do you have examples where the situation wasn't in some way entrenched by boneheaded laws and no one stepped up to voluntarily address it, given enough time?

      Perhaps it is semantics, but I would argue the government exists to punish victimizers on behalf of the victims. Typically that is the strong victimizing the weak, but not always. The strong aren't always victimizers, and the weak often rise up and create their own solution. We love these success stories.

      While states are laboratories of democracy, they can also be laboratories of stupidity. The correct solution is to elect lawmakers you agree with or move to a state that suits you.

      The correct platitude is that history doesn't repeat, it rhymes. Government outlaws one kind of voluntary transaction (gays getting married and needing a wedding cake), then outlaws the exact other side (have to sell wedding cakes to gay couples), then comes up with some goofball law that tries to straddle the two.

  106. A similar group is pushing the same law in Georgia. When anyone objects, these zealots respond as if they are being personally attacked for THEIR religious beliefs. While they are DEMANDING we all bow down to THEIR religion, they refuse to acknowledge that not everyone... in fact a large majority of American citizens do not accept THEIR narrow minded beliefs. I suggest that they start wearing a symbol so the rest of the country knows who they are so that we don't purchase their services or do business with their companies.

    I am so tired of this minority shoving their brand of Christianity down my throat.

    1. Religion is like a penis. If you have one, good for you. Just don't wave it around or try to shove it down my throat.

  107. I never fail to be amazed at the hubris of mere mortals who claim to know the mind of God.

  108. As we all rant about the actions of "our" government in AZ, other states are using this media frenzy to quietly pass their own forms of religious legislature whilst Az is the focus of everyone's attention.
    "The Alabama House Education Policy Committee approved legislation by a voice vote that would allow public school teachers to lead students in a daily prayer, even though the majority of the committee members voted against it" The Montgomery Advisor
    It seems that no one state holds the title of WTF anymore.

  109. Well, with this post I finally have to say it. I love you Jim!

  110. So, were you not getting enough hate mail this month? Mind you, I understand pissing on a few door steps, but did you have to kick the Jesus' Peeps in the beans?

    As ironic as this is to say: I've never seen hate like the kind that spews in the name of Jesus... and you, Sir, just conducted a rectal on a badger.

    I recommend the Kevlar, and one of these... http://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/Ballistic-Face-Mask-Full-_113295489/showimage.html

    Good luck!

  111. Beautiful post. Thank you.

    Maybe the homophobes are so rabid about gays because they misconstrue that commandment about coveting your neighbor's ass....

  112. Once again, you have snatched the feelings right out of my gut and put them down for all the world to see and to read.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!


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